Saturday, February 5, 2011

Waterford Crystal Ireland

On January 28, 2011 we toured the world famous Waterford Crystal factory and retail shop while doing an employment workshop in the Waterford Branch of the LDS Church. Ireland is home to a number of crystal glass companies. There are few raw materials available in Ireland and most must be imported from Europe and Africa. Waterford Crystal is the most famous of these crystal factories and it is the most expensive. From its beginning in 1783 the legendary name of Waterford Crystal has found its way into most people's vocabulary. An extensive choice of crystal products from Waterford can now be bought world wide. Crystal differs from regular glass in that it contains lead. The more lead it contains, the more expensive the crystal and the heavier it is. Waterford Crystal currently employs about 1,000 people.

The tour of the factory has become a major tourist attraction in Ireland. Last year over 250,000 visited the factory. Some of the above pieces sell in the 10s of thousands dollars. Wouldn't want to let a bull loose in this china shop!!!!!

By the look on Deanne's face you can tell that she is thrilled to be surrounded by such luxury. There were so many to choose from it was hard to pick a favorite.

A tour of each stage of the crystal making process enlightens visitors who had possibly not given much thought to the origins of the vase on their mantelpiece! In fact the creation of crystal in a complicated and extremely skilled operation, which involves the initial ingredients of silica sand, potash and lead letharge being mixed within a furnace, ranging at 1200 degrees Celsius.

The molten crystal is then removed.

Examined carefully.

Formed and shaped with primitive tools of wooden blocks and special molds which were especialy made in house for this crystal.

This is a painstaking long process. If you applied to much presure all would be lost and you would have to begin again.

Blowers then work their magic to begin the journey from molten crystal to a masterpiece.

He huffs. He puffs and blows. Don't breath in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A quick check. Will this do?

The results are carefully examined.

More shaping applied and the crystal is removed from the stem. This piece of crystal is destined to become a cake platter cover.

It is now placed in a second furnace to be hardened into a finished product. It will be in here for 14 hours.

When it comes out of the furnace it will look similar to this. But its journey has just began.

The glass is carefully examined by hand for any flaws.

There are no seconds. If it doesn't meet Waterford's high standards it is tossed back to be remelted down into a new crystal product.

Here are but a few of today's rejects.

More rejects. Deanne would settle to own any one of these rejects.

An overview of the factory.

Now it is the grinders turn to cut in a design on the surface of the crystal. Every piece of Waterford Crystal is an original. Because all are hand done each will have their own unique characteristic.

Careful, easy does it. One piece may take days to grind in the design.

If you look closely you will see a winning trophy for the soon to be played U.S. Super Bowl. Each player on the winning team will get a Waterford Crystal Football.

How long did you say? Two days to grind this design. Wow!!!!!!!!

More Supper Bowl Trophies destined for the U.S. Super Bowl.

Careful!!!! Careful !!!!!!! Wonder how far they would kick. Each would retail at around $10,000.

One finished bowl.

Another football trophy.

The designers desk. That block of glass on the right will be ground down to become the piano on the left. It will take a few days.

The designer at work. That model ship in the behind was used as the model to design the ship in front.

Here is the City of Waterford's Coat of Arms. Should sell for around $40,000, if it were sold. It will be soon placed in the Waterford City Hall. A copy will be made to give to Queen Elisabeth if she includes Waterford on her visit to Ireland this year.

More heritage work. You have to see it to truly appreciate the beauty of the crystal.

This is what the molten mass we started out with will look like when completed. The price tag on this cake platter is 8,000 euros or $11,200. They have back orders for this product.

This fiddle took nearly a full month to complete. Price tag is 24,000 euros or $33,600. It is one of the more popular items.

The price tag on this Cinderellas Coach is 30,000 euros or $42,000.

This manger scene really caught Deanne's eye. It retails at 160 euros. We latter found one in Dublin on sale for 99 euros, which she bought. Ending up costing $140 Canadian. Now Deanne has her Waterford Crystal.

This golf tournament trophy caught my eye. I will only have to dream. We can dream can't we???????? I would have to become a better golfer than I am now to ever hope to obtain one of these baby's.

Here are the basic tool of the trade used to shape and form a Crystal masterpiece.


  1. Wow, so much detail - it's amazing. I love the fiddle, when I have a $34,000 I know where to go right? LOL! Good to see you are enjoying yourselves. Keep up the good work.

    Love the Worsey Family xx

  2. Waterford crystal designs, manufactures and markets an extensive range of crystal stemware, barware and giftware for distribution throughout the world. It has become almost a synonym for the finest quality crystal sought after by collectors and connoisseurs around the world. Thanks a lot.

    Crystal Awards